Wise Breakfast Choices

We are constantly being told that breakfast is THE most important meal of the day. You cannot start your day without any fuel — eating breakfast improves your concentration, alertness and overall performance and keeps you going through the day.

However, all of the above apply only if you have a healthy breakfast that does not overload your system with excess carbohydrates or even the bad kinds of fat.

Making the right choices of food for breakfast is as important as the meal itself! If you start your day on a high-carbohydrate, high-fat meal you are going to end up feeling sluggish and lethargic in the morning itself.

What’s more, if the pattern of your breakfast is constantly that of high calorie foods, in the long run it is going to expand your waistline, show up a few more kilos on the weighing scale and negatively affect your lipid profile.

So in the following pages, we’re going to give you the lowdown on the worst, fair and best breakfast choices.

Puri Bhaji
Serving: 1 plate (4 puris)
Calories: 450
Fat: 20 gms

Medhu Vada
Serving: 2
Calories: 260
Fat: 15 gms

Batata Vada
Serving: 2
Calories: 320
Fat: 15 gms

Aloo Paratha
Serving: 2
Calories: 580
Fat: 21.5 gms

Potato Toast
Serving: 1
Calories: 368
Fat: 22.9 gms

It doesn’t take a genius to figure out why the above rank as the five worst choices.

All are high on fat and very low on nutrition, ie they contain a lot of empty calories. These options are also very high on salt and low on fibre. Unfortunately, a lot of offices usually serve vadas and samosas as part of the mid-morning snack and most people end up having them as a second breakfast, so imagine the calorie overload early in the morning! Whether you are watching your weight or not, the above are options that should be in the category of ‘To be eaten once in a blue moon’!

Veg Upma
Serving: 1 mk
Calories: 180
Fat: 5.5 gms

Potato Poha
Serving: 1 mk
Calories: 185
Fat: 5.4 gms

Idli Sambar
Serving: 2
Calories: 312
Fat: 11 gms

Serving: 5
Calories: 110
Fat: 2.5 gms

Onion Pudla (salty)
Serving: 2
Calories: 350
Fat: 11 gms

As a nutritionist, I am asked nearly everyday — ‘Why can’t I include Upma or Poha or any of the above for breakfast?’

While all the above options are not fried and therefore not very high fat choices, they contain a lot of processed/refined carbohydrates and as a result, are low on fibre. Such foods affect and raise your blood glucose levels very quickly and also cause it to drop equally quickly, resulting in low energy and hunger pangs within an hour of eating. Whenever there are high levels of blood glucose in the bloodstream after a meal, some of this excess sugar may be burnt off if you are an active person — but most of it is converted to fat and stored in the body, causing weight gain!

Oatmeal Porridge
Serving: 30 gms
Calories: 250
Fat: 2 gms

Milk with Bran Flakes
Serving: 30 gms
Calories: 250
Fat: 2 gms

Egg-white Omelette with 2 slices of bread
Serving: 2 whites
Calories: 180
Fat: 5 gms

Daliya (salty) with veggies
Serving: 1 mk
Calories: 150
Fat: 5 gms

Brown bread sandwich with veggies
Serving: 2 slices
Calories: 250
Fat: 5 gms

Oats contain soluble fibre; this fibre is broken down slowly by the body, as a result of which energy is released into the blood stream gradually, keeping you going for the next two-three hours. The porridge can be made more nutrient-rich by adding two walnuts for omega 3 fatty acids & a few (three to four) raisins to add to the taste.

Milk with bran flakes is another ready-to-eat breakfast for people on the go, who don’t have much time to cook. You get good quality protein from milk and you get fibre from the cereal which keeps you full, along with several other nutrients which the cereal is fortified with. Add a fruit to this mix and you have a perfect start to the day!

Egg whites can be had boiled, scrambled or as an omelette. If you are watching your weight or your cholesterol, it is best to do away with the yolks and add veggies. However, if you are fit, exercise regularly and keep your meals low-fat, it’s okay to add one egg yolk twice weekly for Vitamin B 12. Eggs are a good source of high-quality protein and have a good satiety value. You can have high fibre or multigrain bread to go with it and can even add a fruit later to improve the overall nutrient value.

If you prefer an Indian-style option, daliya with added veggies is a good choice. Wheat cracks or daliya are nothing but broken wheat and contain a high amount of fibre. While it is not a source of high-quality protein, it helps keep you full for a longer time. If you want to improve its nutrient content, add a cup of milk with sugar and eat it as porridge.

Brown bread/multigrain sandwiches are also a good choice for people who have no time to cook. This high fibre sandwich can be further fortified by adding two or three teaspoons of cottage cheese or just one slice of low-fat cheese. Make sure you add a lot of vegetables — put in more of coriander chutney and less than a teaspoon of butter if you are watching your weight. Having a glass of milk with the sandwich will make it a more wholesome meal.

Vaishali Parekh


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Filed under Food & Diet, health, Healthy LifeStyle

14 responses to “Wise Breakfast Choices

  1. raj

    its a very usefull information,thanks

  2. Gustavo Jiménez

    Thank you my estimated Vaishali I totally agree with you that breakfast is the meal more important day, our body at night has absorbed its nutrient and calorie needs to function properly, even the intellectual features require a tasty and nutritious breakfast. http://Www.mailxmail.com, recently published a workshop on the breakfast, is completely free and anyone can access to, but it is Spanish (my mother tongue). A simple but succulent breakfast helps us meet the challenges of life, in Venezuela an arepa with butter and cheese and a good cup of coffee with milk helps us address the tasks of the day

  3. So true. Breakfast will set the tone for how you feel the rest of the day so it’s very important to get it right. During the week when I have less time, I usually go with a bowl of oats or egg white veggie omelettes. On the weekends, a balanced breakfast is still the goal but it’s a bit more elaborate.

  4. Pushpa

    Nice post and highly nutritive information 🙂

  5. Rashida

    A very timely and valuable advice!
    Yes, it is so very easy to divert and by thinking just one aloo paratha,, tomorrow i will watch, lo and behold! tomorrow never comes, and we notice that we have been naughty when the clothes get tight!
    Yes, I learned the hard way that Breakfast is THE most important meal of the day. All my life i did not eat breakfast because of various reasons, and only when i was diagnosed as a diabetic, did i make it a habit to eat breakfast regularly. I am saying this here so that anyone who is in my category now, can stop and start eating right, to avoid complications later.
    Yes, i try to stay within the limits, however, on weekends i tend to be naughty!

    All the articles that you write are very much to the point and usually hit the nail on the head! Apart from being very informative, they also get me thinking, and we all know, Better Late than Never.
    Bravo Vaishaliben!
    Keep them coming!

  6. Sayali

    Thnx for informative post. Yes we know all these things of breakfast but u kno it ishard to find the good and quick options .. It wud be great if u post such recipes as well

  7. It`s a good statistics, can be referred for future and everyday use, in matters regarding to health & fitness.

  8. Dhanashree

    thanks a lot vaishali for providing u r valuable knowledge. What if we eat fulka / chapati n bhaji instead of puri? Or can you suggest some healthy n less fat content spread which can be applied to chapati instead eating of jam / ghee n sugar with it?

    • Phulka for breakfast is perfectly ok, but don’t go for Bhaji. Give up fried stuff completely. Instead, have a normal veg curry.
      Do not use jam and sugar as a spread. Not at all good for health. Pure ghee from cow milk is good, but it is fattening, if you do not burn it away by exercising. Just plain dry chapati with vegetables and some fruits is the ideal breakfast choice.
      If you have to apply a spread on your phulka, then go for a very light brushing of pure and authentic ghee made from cow milk.

  9. sindhu

    hi ,
    i live in south india. but the dishes you mentioned little refers to your north inidan food. kindly mention some soutnh indian

  10. Very useful information Vaishali.
    Thanks for guiding us.
    I always avoid making fried stuff at home.

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